Innovation That Matters

App gives friendship advice based on user's heart rate

Work & Lifestyle

Pplkpr is an app, synched to a wearable device, which monitors users' responses to their acquaintances and acts on their behalf.

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The majority of people are capable of working out which of their companions make them happiest and which get on their nerves, but just in case anyone out there is struggling, a new app called pplkpr is offering to help users work it out.

Pplkpr — pronounced people keeper — is a smartphone app, synched with a wearable device, which monitors the user’s physical and emotional responses to the people they are hanging out with. It analyzes the data to help users identify how their companions make them feel — whether that be happy, scared, nervous or calm — and advises the wearer who to see when and who to cut out of their lives completely. It can even act on the users behalf, scheduling meetings and deleting bad influences.

Pplkpr tracks the wearers movements with GPS and monitors the users heart rate variability with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. At first, wearers are required to input their feelings manually, prompted by questions when entering or leaving social situations, but eventually the app’s algorithm learns which emotions are associated with the subtle changes in the user’s heart rhythm and who produces which responses.

Pplkpr is available for download from the App store, or you can watch the video below to learn more:


The app was developed by artists Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald as a working experiment into quantified living and algorithm decision making: the artists hope it will inspire questioning of this area of research and development. While the app can be taken with a pinch of salt, perhaps there is scope to use the technology as an aid for those who struggle with emotional reactions — could it be transformed into a platform that helps autism sufferers manage and understand their feelings, for example?



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